Tips for achieving your health and wellness goals

Goal Setting.jpg


Since we are now in May, I thought I would check in and see how your New Year’s Resolutions are coming.  Setting resolutions and goals can be a great way to be intentional with your time.  I love setting goals as it helps me think about what I want to accomplish.  It causes me to think about the process and actions steps needed to reach the goals.

Tips for achieving your health and wellness goals:

1)     Start small.  Pick one or two action steps to focus on each week.  This allows you to make small changes that are more likely to stick so you can see results that you want.  Keep it simple!  Some examples:   Drink 64oz of water per day.  Walk the dog for 1 mile in the morning and at night.  Add 1 serving of vegetables to lunch daily. 

2)     Make sure your tasks are measureable and specific.  For example, I want to walk thirty minutes, four days per week, and go to a yoga class twice per week.  This approach allows you to quickly know if you are on track.

3)     Track your progress.  It is great to set goals, but if are not checking in daily, weekly, or even monthly, you will never know if you are making progress.  Tag up with a friend and check in weekly to make you accountable for your fitness and nutrition goals.

4)     Be realistic with yourself.   Make sure the goal is attainable.  You want to see success and it is hard to be successful if the goal is not achievable.  

As a dietitian and health coach, I often see clients set goals that are unrealistic, not measurable, and too broad.  If we try to change our diet and fitness routine all at once, there is no way it will last a week.  Think small steps so your healthy habits will stick.  I have my clients pick 1 or 2 health related goals to focus on each week.   

Did you know you lose motivation as your day progresses?  True fact.  So, plan those early morning workouts and fuel with a healthy breakfast so you can start the day on the right foot. 

This year I have been keeping track of my goals using Lara Casey’s PowerSheets.  I keep it on my bedside table so I can check them off daily as I climb into bed, but also so it is the first thing I see after I rise.  After a few months of using her PowerSheets I must admit I am hooked.  They help me revisit goals I previously set, and to reflect on Lara’s motto “Cultivate What Matters.”  There was one month where I did not accomplish any of my monthly goals, but that is totally okay because it gave me the opportunity to review the roadblocks and find other action steps to focus on so it can be attainable in the future.  I also like to keep the motto “Progress NOT Perfection.” 

In the past I would always set New Year Resolutions, but I would never go back and review them a few months later or think about why I did not accomplish them.  Two years ago, we were expecting our third boy and had a 4 yr old and 18-month-old. That year my friends asked me my resolution and without skipping a beat I told her, “My goal in 2017 is to survive!”  Luckily, I met that goal and so this past year I decided to focus on one thing in general for this year. 

2018 is about me!  I am focusing and working on self-care so I can be strong mentally and physically to best be able to provide for my family.   At times it seems selfish to take a little time for myself, but those few hours here and there provide a fresh and energetic prospective on life.   

Do you use any tools to help you stay on track with your goals???



Black bean pumpkin brownies

I am a big time dessert person. I can't remember the last time I didn't eat dessert before bed...big sweet tooth. Fortunately I enjoy cooking/baking and especially no bake desserts that offer some nutrition along with all the sugar. 

Enter the black bean brownie. Healthy ingredients, healthy fats, fiber and of course some chocolate. I also love any excuse to polish off an open can of pumpkin. You can feel good about eating these any time of day.



Let's get cooking!

What you'll need

  • 1.5 cups black beans or 1 can rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut, evoo)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oats (or ground flax)
  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 6-8 Tbsp carob chips (or chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a brownie pan. Puree all ingredients, except chocolate chips, until smooth using food processor. Pulse in chips to combine. Spread batter into pan and add additional chocolate to top if preferred. Walnuts would also be fab. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check at 20 and if too soft continue cooking another 5 minutes until more firm. Let cool, serve and store leftovers in fridge.

I like to add a smear of almond butter and dusting of powdered sugar, because why not!


Recipe credit: Knead to Cook  Hope y'all enjoy these!

Recipe credit: Knead to Cook

Hope y'all enjoy these!

Cold weather training

It’s cold out there and I DO NOT want to run outside. Anyone with me? I trained for and raced a 50 miler through the summer months and I was in the zone. Having a goal race got me out of bed each and every morning to get that mileage in regardless of how tired, sore or downright exhausted I was. Of course the scorching high temps and humidity pushed me out the door each morning too. There is something about a nice, sunny day that gets you moving. Even if it means sweating so much you can wring your shorts out.

The race came and went, my motivation stalled, and now it’s winter and I don’t want to move. My running high is long gone. And now it’s dark in the morning so I just want to stay in bed. The temps are in the 20’s and I’d rather be warm under my covers until my child wakes me. I guess I'm struggling to find my groove again.

It’s not easy this time of year. So what do we do to get out of this funk?

I think it's time to put together a plan. For me, finding an activity during the colder months and putting running on hold works best. I could force myself out of bed early every morning to run, but I don’t want to. I feel like it’s time to do things I enjoy rather than forcing the routine. Sometimes that means a run, but sometimes it is a walk or bodyweight routine done in front of the TV while still wearing my jammies. And I'm okay with that.

Physical activity is important and it’s something I need to do to get through my day. But lately I instead look at it as deliberate movement. Not forced exercise. So what's my advice during this cold season? Spend time doing what you enjoy...and don't force it. 

Tips on How to Survive the Holidays without the Weight Gain

Picture taken 11/4/17 at Grace Bay – Turks and Caicos

Picture taken 11/4/17 at Grace Bay – Turks and Caicos


I took a short girls trip to Grace Bay in the Turks and Caicos the beginning of the month to rest and recharge before the holidays began.  This picture is now my phone wallpaper to remind me to take time to myself so I can better care for our family!  I am not going to lie it is a hard juggling act.  This is a rare occurrence for me, but it was so wonderful to sleep thru the night and sip on hot coffee.  What are your favorite ways to take time for yourself?  For me some days just taking 30 minutes to be quiet will make all the difference in the world. 


Tips on How to Survive the Holidays without the Weight Gain:

1)     Keep healthy snacks on hand to grab in a pinch.  Then you won’t be grabbing candy or snacks that are not going to satisfy your hunger.

2)    Always eat before going to a holiday party.  This way you will not get over hungry and devour the appetizers and can instead be mindful and make smart decisions.

3)    Bring a healthy side if going to a potluck or family dinner.  Then you know you have one healthy item to fill on your plate. 

4)    Drink lots of water throughout the day.  Make sure to stay hydrated for all those holiday parties and big meals.  Remember water, wine, water, wine...  You will also be thankful the next day. 

5)    Organize an active family activity.  Sign the family up for a Jingle Bell run, go for a walk as a family, or take a bike ride.

6)    Have a plan.  Each week look at your calendar so you know the nights you will be eating out so you can try to make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch.

7)    Be sure to fill half your plate with vegetables or vegetables and fruit.

8)    Post a picture or a note to help you stick to your goals and stay focused.  This picture I am using is above.  

9)    It is a busy season for most people.  Be sure to take time for yourself so you can fill your tank and best tackle the holiday season.

10)  Be present!  So often I feel that I rush through family dinners or parties just to check that off the list and move onto the next item.  Put down the phone (my biggest distraction) and enjoy friends and family.   

- Grace


Nutrition Partners Starts a Blog & Recipe for Pumpkin Energy Bites

We started a blog!  We are hoping to use this platform to share recipes, meal ideas, running and exercise posts, and all things nutrition, along with a dash of our daily life and family -because that is a big part of who we are.  We hope this blog will inspire you to try a new recipe or focus on reaching whatever health goal you have your mind set on. 

First things first, we want everyone to know we are ramping things up at Nutrition Partners and planning for a very exciting New Year.  We are transitioning to an online / virtual platform and enhancing our meal planning offerings. While we will still offer in-person appointments of course we will also be offering virtual sessions over the computer.  Virtual sessions will hopefully be more convenient for our clients and help them avoid having to take time away from their job or family to see their favorite dietitian. 

Meal planning is something we have always counseled our clients on, but we will be able to offering more customized plans to our clients virtually, along with coaching and accountability. If you are interested in learning more, send us an email and be on the lookout for more information as we update our website with new packages. 

Blue Ridge Parkway 10/22/17

Blue Ridge Parkway 10/22/17

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love a long hike in the mountains with the leaves changing color, wearing long sleeves, and the crisp chilly mornings.  Also it is pumpkin time!  Everything is pumpkin!!  It amazes me all the products you can find with pumpkin added.  Did you know pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A and very good source of Vitamin C among many other nutrients. Speaking of pumpkin… our friends over at Live Glean are now selling pumpkin flour.  It is simply dehydrated pumpkins that have been milled down to a flour like consistency.  I have been experimenting with the products for some fun recipe ideas.

Pumpkin Flour sold by Live Glean.  It is now available on Amazon and their website!

Pumpkin Flour sold by Live Glean.  It is now available on Amazon and their website!


My “Pumpkin Energy Bites” are one of my favorites.  My kids and husband also love them!  I try to make a batch weekly and send them as a snack with my kindergartener.  They totally take care of my chocolate / sweet craving and I am getting better nutrients than eating a cookie or something not as nutrient dense.  The recipe is below.

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Yield: 26 servings

Portion Size: 2 balls

Source: Grace Hamrick, RD LDN


Oats  1 cup

Almond Butter  1/2 cup

Pumpkin Flour  1/2 cup

Flax Seed, Ground  1/4 cup

Chocolate Chips, Mini  1/4 cup

Honey  1/4 cup

Cinnamon 1 teaspoon

Vanilla Extract  2 teaspoons

Water  about 2 tablespoons; use add needed 


In a bowl, combine oats, almond butter, pumpkin flour, flax seed, chocolate chips, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.  Add water as needed. Allow mixture to chill in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.  Spoon mixture into a ball about a quarter size. May need to roll with hands.  Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 7 days or freezer for up to 3 months. Enjoy!